Creativity Journal: Days Five through Seven

When you have two children, you homeschool, you work from home, and you try to maintain some semblance of order in said home, it’s not easy to carve out an hour or two in a day and make something artsy and magical, let alone write a post about your process. I’ve been trying to find a little art in everything I do, though, and I’ve had a few lovely little moments over the past few days…like introducing HG1 to canvas and acrylic paint:  

…and pausing for a moment to take in these gorgeous curls:  

…and digging some of my baby clothes and NKOTB dolls out of the attic:

…and restoring all those dolls to their former glory:

…and making pretty meals:  

…and ordering something for HG1 and myself that I’m reeeeeeally excited about. Can’t show you that one yet, though. 

I also made the world’s best homemade deodorant using only these ingredients:  

I followed this recipe here, and it yielded enough to fill an old deo container and two small tubs:  

Good times. 

Creativity Journal: Day Four

The henna posts will never end. HOWEVER! This is a big huge deal for me because I did it without a pattern. It’s nearly impossible for me to create something on my own. I need a photo, a recipe, instructions of some type to follow to the letter. For this, I looked at a few pics online for inspiration, then made myself lock my phone before I got started. Baby steps. 


Side note: I managed more self-care this week than I have in the past half year combined: painted my toenails and fingernails, touched up my roots, and took a bath. I don’t know if the art is begetting self-care or if the self-care is facilitating art (or maybe the baby is seven months and I’m remembering to breathe again), but either way I’ll take it.  

Creativity Journal: Day Two

There’s something profoundly humbling in touching and creating henna art upon a mama’s pregnant belly. 

The posture required for such an act – kneeling or sitting on one’s knees, physically lower than the mother – is humbling in and of itself, but sharing that sacred space for an hour or two always leaves me in awe of the miracle of birth. And life. 

At some point in the process (many times, usually) the little one in utero acknowledges the love and the art taking place just outside her world. 

Every baby and belly is amazing, but this evening’s belly was very different from the others I’ve had the privilege of painting.   

Somewhere Safe

Years pass, emotions remain just out of reach. 
Grief is never convenient. 

Missed baby #1
LMP: 7/26/2012
Positive test: 9/2/2012
Positive pregnancy test
Estimated due date: 5/1/2013

Pregnancy 5 weeks 3 days

5 weeks, 3 days

Pregnancy 6 weeks 1 day

6 weeks, 1 day

Pregnancy 8 weeks 2 days

8 weeks, 2 days

Loss: 10/24/2012 (12 weeks, 5 days)
Abdominal Ultrasound 6 weeks 1 day
Blighted Ovum II
Diagnosis: Blighted ovum (gender never determined, suspected female)

Missed baby #2
LMP: 3/26/2013
Positive test: 4/25/2013
Estimated due date: 12/31/2013

4 weeks, 4 days

4 weeks, 4 days

6 weeks, 1 day

6 weeks, 1 day

8 weeks, 1 day

8 weeks, 1 day

Loss: 6/15/2013 (11 weeks, 4 days)
Diagnosis: Tetraploidy (two signals each for X and Y chromosomes [possibly twin males] and four hybridization signals each for chromosomes 13, 16, 18, 21, and 22)

Missed baby #3
LMP: 10/6/2013
Positive test: 11/9/2013
Estimated due date: 7/16/2014

8 weeks, 5 days

8 weeks, 5 days

Loss: 12/22/2013 (11 weeks)
Diagnosis: Trisomy 21 (Down’s Syndrome), female

Gentle Parenting FTW

As parents, the German and I fall under what you’d call the “gentle” umbrella. No crying it out, no spanking or popping or physical punishment, and lots of respect for our babies as little people with a voice (respect the “no,” help them work through emotions, etc.). 

However, I used to raise my voice to HG1. Too much, really. I told myself I was still “gentle” because there was nothing physical involved with our discipline. But every time I raised my voice to her, I would watch her little face and spirit crumple. Loud sounds bother her very much, so hearing me yell would make her cry every time. I’ve been very, very deliberate with my interactions with HG1 since a few months before HG2 was born, vowing to raise my voice as little as possible. I haven’t eliminated yelling entirely, but it’s rare for me to raise my voice to her anymore.

Last night presented itself with a “no yelling” opportunity in our home. HG1 spilled her water onto the table at dinner (which in turn dribbled on an iPad and laptop because I decided she could watch Daniel Tiger while I watched The Office…long day. Don’t judge.). This is probably the tenth time in as many days that she’s spilled her drink, NO MATTER WHERE I PLACE IT ON THE TABLE. Old me would have raised my voice and yelled at her to go get a towel, demanding she be more careful. 

Last night, instead of raising my voice, I took a deep breath and looked at her. Her little face turned up to mine, her eyes wide with nervous expectation. I smiled, picked up a towel and joked in a silly voice (so she would know straight away that I wasn’t angry), “Geez Louise, kid. You spill every cup you touch. Why is that?” while cleaning up the water. She giggled and squeaked, “I don’t know!” then moved the iPad away from the spill. I told her it must be because she’s a little wiggle worm and she laughed, “Yeah, I’m a wiggle worm,” then I poured her some more water. She said softly, “Thanks, Mama. You’re Supermom.” 

It’s amazing what we can learn from our littles when we listen carefully and act deliberately. She doesn’t respect me more for being louder and controlling; she respects me for showing her kindness, compassion, forgiveness, and humor rather than crushing her spirit. Those are the traits I want to foster in her, so where better for her to learn them than from me? 

By not raising my voice when she made a mistake – even a mistake she makes almost every day – but instead helping her clean and giving her a silly dialogue through which to see the spill, she internalized my reaction and, in this instance, offered kindness back almost immediately. 

I’ll go a step further and say that if you can avoid any negativity in your word choices, bonus points for you. I’m not crazy about my reaction, but I’m learning in this process, too. Tonight’s reactions was worlds better than previous reactions. Baby steps.